7. California v. Reitz. Stephen Reitz killed his lover, Eva Weinfurtner, a married woman in her 40s, during what was supposed to be a romantic Catalina Island getaway in 2001. He smashed her head with a flowerpot, leaving shards in her scalp, dislocated her arm, punctured her with a plastic fork, fractured her wrist, ribs, jaw, facial bones, and skull, and, wielding a pocketknife, left three gaping stab wounds on the back of her neck. Reitz told police that he had no recollection of the attack, though through "flashbacks" he recalled believing that he was in a scuffle with a male intruder.
Reitz, who had worked as a commercial fisherman, told police that the knife wounds on Weinfurtner's neck were nearly identical to those that fishermen use to kill sharks. At trial, his parents testified that he had been a sleepwalker since childhood. The jurors didn't buy it. They convicted Reitz of first-degree murder in 2004. Their decision was presumably influenced by the defendant's history of violence towards Weinfurtner, including an incident in which he had broken into her apartment with a knife and told her that he would gut someone like a fish.